Author Topic: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?  (Read 2655 times)

FIRE4Science

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Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« on: January 13, 2017, 10:34:49 AM »
Since there is a lot more unstructured free time to pursue passions and interests, anyone in the community pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?

Metric Mouse

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 10:42:47 AM »
Would this be practical on a Fire budget?
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andystkilda

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 10:21:45 PM »
I'm definitely not pioneering anything yet, but I have started studying a Masters of Astronomy and hope to contribute to that field over the next phase of life now that we're FIRE'd.

Every new fact I learn about the Universe makes everything here on Earth seem more and more insignificant - don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

CanuckExpat

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 10:46:37 PM »
Would this be practical on a Fire budget?

Depends what you want to research. Stealing joke from here:

Dean, to the physics department. "Why do I always have to give you guys so much money, for laboratories and expensive equipment and stuff. Why couldn't you be like the math department - all they need is money for pencils, paper and waste-paper baskets. Or even better, like the philosophy department. All they need are pencils and paper."
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Gone Fishing

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2017, 06:44:34 PM »
Would this be practical on a Fire budget?

Research fellowships that waive tuition and even pay a modest wage are available at many large universities.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2017, 06:47:04 PM »
Would this be practical on a Fire budget?

Software probably would be practical.   A solo researcher could still make advances in AI or other things.

letired

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2017, 08:25:37 PM »
I'm a long way off from FIRE, but Gentleman* Scholar is on my list of occupations I would like to try! I'm a biologist by training, and there is a TON of piddly natural history type stuff that is not expensive** to do and potentially of value to the larger scientific community.

* you know, without the 'man' part.
** you know, as long as you don't need to be paid  a living wage or anything

CanuckExpat

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2017, 09:15:51 PM »
Would this be practical on a Fire budget?

Research fellowships that waive tuition and even pay a modest wage are available at many large universities.

This would probably entail enrolling as a graduate student right, likely doctorate? Or are there other ways?

(Granted you could work for a lab in the field)
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gerardc

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2017, 12:12:26 AM »
Would this be practical on a Fire budget?

Software probably would be practical.   A solo researcher could still make advances in AI or other things.

"New fields of science" is a little far-fetched, but I've thought of doing some AI research/projects for fun, without pressure of face time, collaboration, publication, etc. You'd probably need access to a cluster of machines for computation, but that can probably be obtained cheaply, negotiated with a university, or waived altogether.

But then... might as well be a post-doc and get the salary/benefits that come with it, and just negotiate flexible work conditions. As a fully independent researcher it is hard to get funding at all.

gaja

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2017, 01:18:05 AM »
I don't know  about pioneering, but to study at university level in the Nordic countries costs less than $100/semester. It is not uncommon her to take some classes while working, or after retiring, just for your own sake. PhDs are usually fully paid positions, and unless I find a way to do it at my own pace, I probably won't want that level of stress in my life.
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cerat0n1a

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2017, 05:04:05 AM »
There's still plenty of scope in astronomy for non-professionals to make significant contributions - and plenty of people doing that and organisations facilitating it. I also know of early retired people doing "natural history" type stuff - recording plant species within a particular area, butterfly numbers, mosses & lichens, feeding into bigger collaborative research projects

gerardc

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 08:32:05 PM »
If a universal basic income is in the cards, we'd need to figure out a way to give resources to independent researchers, as I figure many science-inclined people would be doing just that.

Libertea

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2017, 07:37:01 AM »
I wouldn't exactly say I was pioneering a new field of science (wow, that's a pretty tall order!).  But as a semi-retiree, I will be doing teaching and research in an already existing field of science with plenty of room for further discoveries to be made.  What is your specific interest in science/research?

Metric Mouse

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2017, 10:23:27 AM »
If a universal basic income is in the cards, we'd need to figure out a way to give resources to independent researchers, as I figure many science-inclined people would be doing just that.
Don't programs to give funds to independent researchers already exist?
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bop

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2017, 11:03:11 AM »
I'm not pioneering a new field, but I am contributing to the field of theoretical computer science.  That's the area I got my PhD in way back when.  After I FIREd three years ago at age 50, I've been working on it again.  I've collaborated with other researchers and published a bit since.  I have an office at a local university and go to seminars.  Like math, it's a field where all you need is a pencil and paper (and a wastebasket). 

Lyssa

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2017, 03:35:34 PM »
I intend to study biology just because I've been interested in it for years. Not sure if I do anything subsequently but why not specialize in some field that does not need tons of funds and publish something once in a while. Science is fun. Especially if undertaken without the need to earn a living, office politics and the pressure to publish more than your peers in order to apply for full-time jobs with part-time consideration.

gerardc

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2017, 10:27:54 PM »
If a universal basic income is in the cards, we'd need to figure out a way to give resources to independent researchers, as I figure many science-inclined people would be doing just that.
Don't programs to give funds to independent researchers already exist?

Yes but I think it's practically impossible to get them if you want to work from home with no affiliation. Working as a post-doc with flexible terms sounds a lot easier.

Ozstache

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2017, 02:30:02 PM »
I've written a rain front intercept prediction program that mostly works. Does that count?

slugsworth

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2017, 06:14:15 PM »
This thread made me think of Brian May

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_May


Ozstache

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2017, 02:53:02 AM »
This thread made me think of Brian May

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_May

I recently heard the Queen song '39, with lead vocals sung by Brian May, and it brought back fond memories of that song from my childhood. In fact, I'd have to say it is my favourite Queen song and it does resonate well with this thread. Check it out if you've never heard it before or want to hear it again: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kE8kGMfXaFU

FIRE4Science

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2017, 10:49:07 AM »
What is your specific interest in science/research?
I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, but I thoroughly enjoyed taking advanced physics and astronomy courses into the 400 level and grad courses. My work lifestyle never allowed much free time to pursue my interests in those science fields, studies, and experiments. I now have time managed my day around these pursuits and do what I want with the exploration thanks to FIRE. Advanced free software such as SpaceEngine and Outerra has been quite useful in my astronomy knowledge. I'm more of a scientist in heart, then an engineer by my past career. So I'm focused on finding/making new scientific discoveries followed with applications.

Libertea

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2017, 01:23:40 PM »
I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, but I thoroughly enjoyed taking advanced physics and astronomy courses into the 400 level and grad courses. My work lifestyle never allowed much free time to pursue my interests in those science fields, studies, and experiments. I now have time managed my day around these pursuits and do what I want with the exploration thanks to FIRE. Advanced free software such as SpaceEngine and Outerra has been quite useful in my astronomy knowledge. I'm more of a scientist in heart, then an engineer by my past career. So I'm focused on finding/making new scientific discoveries followed with applications.
Sounds pretty neat. What exactly are those programs?  Can a novice do them, or do you need a pretty extensive astronomy background already?

flyingaway

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2017, 03:32:58 PM »
Would it be more fun to WORK in pioneering new fields of science? I am currently getting paid to do that as a professor.

letired

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2017, 05:37:49 PM »
Would it be more fun to WORK in pioneering new fields of science? I am currently getting paid to do that as a professor.

I'm not 'qualified' to work any jobs in my field that pay over 40k a year ('only' have a masters), every boss I've had in academia was a total nut job in one way or another, and the work is very hard and physically demanding. I have no interest in or passion for teaching, which is also a poorly paid/overworked one-two punch for my background/qualifications.

Since I left research/academia, my salary has more than doubled. I also enjoy this work, enough to do it for another decade, at which point I should be FI. My time-to-FI would be ... a lot longer if I continued to make less than 40k/year.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2017, 05:48:43 PM »
Would it be more fun to WORK in pioneering new fields of science? I am currently getting paid to do that as a professor.

Often things that are fun when done in one's free time are much less fun when done for work.
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gerardc

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2017, 08:49:45 PM »
I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, but I thoroughly enjoyed taking advanced physics and astronomy courses into the 400 level and grad courses.

Independent research in physics is going to be hard as you need $100k+ equipment to perform basic experiments (depending on the field) unless you only do simulations. The entry point is a lot lower in computer science!

sol

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2017, 09:26:47 PM »
"Pioneering new fields of science" isn't something humanity does very often, so you'd be hard pressed to do it alone in your retirement.

But there are LOTS of ways you can use a scientific background to advance humanity, on a limited budget.  Just giving this 30 seconds of thought...

1.  I know a handful of amateur astronomers who have digitized their backyard reflector telescopes and who use their home computers to scan each night's images to look for changes.  These are the people who routinely discover new comets and such, or find unexplained variances in star brightness.  They are part of online communities for reporting and discussing what they see.

2.  People with GIS experience are in high demand in virtually every field of useful applied science.   Learn to download and automate the processing of free google earth imagery.  These folks find previously undiscovered archaeology sites, or track deforestation in the amazon rain forest, or the melting of greenland's ice cap. 

3.  More hand's on folks are currently changing the world with consumer grade electronics.  Spend a month watching maker videos on youtube, learn to program a raspberry pi, and you can design and manufacturer your own smart_whatever hardware.  Just look at the explosive growth in smart home technology, the field of wireless connectivity and phone integration is ripe to upset a hundred different established industries.  With cheap ministick computers plus a sub-$1000 3D printer and you can reproduce thirty different startups already valued at >$1million.

4.  Apply technologies that are currently research experiments to residential use.  Read up on algal biofuels and then build a reactor in your back yard, build a methane digester to go with it, figure out how to integrate the two and make it cheap and reproducible and you'll have thousands of people building them.

5.  Unprofitable genetics.  Seriously, for about $15k in laboratory equipment you can do basic genetics research in your kitchen, of the type that nobody else is doing because there's no money in it.  We have fifty labs working on how to make photosynthesis more efficient, and nobody at all working on why wiener dogs have short legs.  That person could be you, for six months worth of work.  Or if you're the evil type, you can weaponize influenza and wipe out half of the planet's population.  Nothing says "going down in history" quite like "evil genius who started a global pandemic".  So easy an undergrad could do it!

There are huge amounts of unanalyzed data available to the public, waiting for the right person to come along and dig into it.  Each year the google science fair produces at least three or four potentially world-altering technologies that some high school kid came up with on a shoestring budget.  You can do that, too.  It's not "pioneering new fields of science" but it is making a difference.




englyn

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2017, 01:43:45 AM »
Or if you're the evil type, you can weaponize influenza and wipe out half of the planet's population.  Nothing says "going down in history" quite like "evil genius who started a global pandemic".  So easy an undergrad could do it!

HAHAHA
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FIRE4Science

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2017, 10:53:57 AM »
I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, but I thoroughly enjoyed taking advanced physics and astronomy courses into the 400 level and grad courses.

Independent research in physics is going to be hard as you need $100k+ equipment to perform basic experiments (depending on the field) unless you only do simulations. The entry point is a lot lower in computer science!

And yet light was understood better with less then $1,000 in supplies from a tent at one point in light history, and a prism at a another point. There are many different angles of thought to help experiment on the cheap.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2017, 08:51:34 AM »
Not exactly a new field but I am experimenting with perennial crops not currently grown in the area. I'm not terribly methodical, but it does give me a bit of the "pioneering" feeling!

Cookie78

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2017, 09:25:49 AM »

2.  People with GIS experience are in high demand in virtually every field of useful applied science.   Learn to download and automate the processing of free google earth imagery.  These folks find previously undiscovered archaeology sites, or track deforestation in the amazon rain forest, or the melting of greenland's ice cap. 


WooHoo! I'll add that to the to-do list.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2017, 08:11:07 PM »
You would be surprised at what you can get on ebay or other auctions that is pretty "high tech"

A few years back I was interested in laser micromachining and bought a 10kW (peak pulse) fiber laser the size of a cereal box for under $1500 (yay for bankrupt solar cell companies!).

With it I managed to machine parts out of steel that were microscopic.  I eventually planned on using a beam expander (also on bought on ebay) to get the beam spot closer to the 1064nm wavelength but even with a simple lens system I could cut out items like gears which were only slightly bigger than the diameter of a human hair.

If I had not gotten sidetracked with our RV build, I had planned to make ultra small motors and servo mechanisms.  Not technically a "new" field of science, but not something everyone does in their garage either.

edit:  But maybe you could combine the above with biology and create some sort of microscopic sorting device that would kill bacteria that did not conform to some feature you designed.   You could then run through many life cycles and steer the evolution of the bacteria in a certain way.  THAT would be a pretty new field of science.   Bacteria may be too small for the type of laser system I have...most are about the wavelength of the laser I was using.  But if you could make laser channels where only 1 bacterium could fit through...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 08:20:20 PM by Roland of Gilead »

rpr

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2017, 08:21:08 PM »
P2F.


Daisy

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Re: Anyone pioneering new fields of science after FIRE?
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2017, 10:08:41 PM »
Id like to use my science background and interest while FIRE'd to work as a volunteer or part time worker at my city's new to open science museum. It will be located in a beautiful part of downtown, which is more exciting than working in suburbia as I currently do.